News & Analysis

  1. troll_takeover

    Comment sections are on their way out

    In 2007, when I launched my first website, our comment section was central to the product. We scrutinized every detail of it. We incessantly debated the interactions — should we allow ‘up’ and ‘down’ votes? — and considered “comments per article” to be a major KPI. Back then, a discussion of websites’ comment sections felt like a bunch of sixteen year olds talking about their cars. “Mine is the best — check out the way we elegantly nest the response…
  3. global-warming-sad-polar-bear

    Microsoft cuts ties with right wing climate change deniers ALEC. But what about Facebook, Google, and Yelp?

    It might come as a surprise to liberal-leaning observers, but Microsoft, a corporation known for its efforts toward environmental stability, has been working with the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC), acting as a member of its Communications and Technology Task Force. Since that relationship was struck, groups devoted to sustainability efforts, corporate responsibility, and equal rights have taken issue with this arrangement. After all, the right wing public policy group, which (surprise!) is backed by the oil and gas magnates Charles and David Brothers, have a…
  4. dentonpie

    Judge green-lights class action suit by former Gawker interns

    Bad news for Gawker: A judge has agreed that a group of its former unpaid interns are entitled to bring a class action suit over their treatment while working at Nick Denton’s gossip factory. In her ruling (embedded below), Judge Alison J. Nathan has granted the plaintiffs’ motion for conditional class certification. The ruling means that the interns who initially brought the suit can now issue a notice inviting other former unpaid Gawker workers to join the suit. Here’s Judge Nathan’s…
  5. plouffe-articleLarge

    Uber hires former Obama advisor (and shady telecoms consultant) David Plouffe to lead insurgent war

    The word “hypocrite” is so ugly, don’t you think? So much more so than “pragmatist.” In unrelated news, Uber founder Travis Kalanick has further cemented his reputation as a grotesque pragmatist by hiring former Obama advisor David Plouffe as Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy. According to the Wall St Journal, Plouffe’s role will be “to help the taxi-hailing app win battles with regulators and soften its image in the public sphere.” To the untrained eye, Plouffe’s role…
  7. elsewhere

    Book Review: Jamie Bartlett’s “The Dark Net”

    The New Scientist has an excellent book review of Jamie Bartlett’s “The Dark Net.” A scholar studying the intersection of violence, extremism, and social media, Bartlett writes, “I came to realise that the unspoken truth about the dark net… is that everything is close to the surface.” [Source: New Scientist]
  8. Google Door

    What the hell is happening at Google Ventures?

    Sure Google loves the almighty algorithm, but does it love it so much that it actually thinks it can have a venture firm without a committed, stable partnership of flesh and blood humans? With a revolving door at Google Ventures over the last year, it’s a valid question. It’s also a question that Google is going to have to answer for itself now that two of the most visible members of that team – former Digg and Milk co-founder Kevin…
  9. elsewhere

    Once a humble newsletter, Thrillist claims $100 million in annual revenue

    Wired talks to the team at Thrillist about how it grew from a 600-subscriber newsletter to an content/commerce giant its co-founder Ben Lerer predicts to post over $100 million in revenue this year. [Source: Wired]
  11. elsewhere

    One in four neighborhoods use social network Nextdoor

    The community-based social network Nextdoor says it has now been adopted by ten or more people in one-fourth of all neighborhoods across the United States. Over at the Verge, Ben Popper talks to an Ohio couple who, after their basement flooded, found the tight-knit network of Nextdoor far more useful than callouts on Facebook or Twitter. [Source: The Verge]
  12. Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 2.09.55 PM

    Don’t share “hate reads” on Twitter — but if you must, make sure you use this service

    Today, the “Hate Reader of Record” (aka the New York Post) published an awful, awful article titled, “Hey, ladies — catcalls are flattering! Deal with it.” So the basic premise of the piece is that objectifying shouts from strangers on the street are an important form of validation for women who would otherwise be stuck insecurely wondering if they meet the sexual specifications of a random construction worker. Uh, okay. As if the premise isn’t bad enough, the author includes an offensive hypothesis for the…
  14. Monkey Mobile

    Watch out, PayPal just made 150M consumers “one touch” buyers

    When it comes to mobile commerce, the winning formula is KISS (keep it simple, stupid). The more difficult it is to go from intent to discover to purchase, the more likely a consumer is to abandon their transaction. And with the cramped keyboards of today’s smartphones, no step is more churn-inducing than checkout, with its demands for credit card numbers and billing addresses. Braintree knows this as well as anyone, having bet big on mobile long before any of its…
  15. ferguson

    More journalists arrested in Ferguson last night. So much for freedom of the press.

    Last night, the Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux and Lukas Hermsmeier, a reporter for the German newspaper Bild, were among those arrested (or detained, as authorities are calling it) during the escalating protests over Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, MO. Getty Images photographer Scott Olsen was also taken into custody. A few days earlier, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were also arrested in Ferguson. No charges have been brought against any of the journalists, but…
  16. Bag of cash levels up, hiring its first ever CRO while IPO rumors loom

    When burst onto the scene in early 2013 with a massive maiden financing round of $103 million, the Carpinteria-based video education startup was a complete unknown to most in the industry. And yet, the 17-year-old company had just come off a year in which it generated $100 million in revenue, up 43 percent on the year prior, and was highly profitable. Who says education can’t be lucrative? In the time since, Lynda has made two significant acquisitions and expanded internationally,…
  18. Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.01.35 PM

    Over 7.8 million tweets have mentioned #Ferguson in the past 9 days

    According to data given to the Wall Street Journal by Twitter, over 7.8 million tweets have mentioned the hashtag #Ferguson since August 9, the day a black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO. If that sounds lower than, say, the record-breaking number of tweets related to this year’s World Cup match between Germany and Brazil (35.6 million tweets) or the most recent Super Bowl (24.9 million tweets), keep…
  19. bezos

    Now it’s time for Silicon Valley to profit from the new Indian ecommerce laws it helped shape

    Late last month, the tech industry cheered two huge back-to-back investments into India’s fledgling e-commerce sector: India e-tailer raised $1 billion from global venture capital firms, the largest venture investment ever into an Indian Internet company, and 2014’s second largest investment round after Uber. Less than 24 hours later, Jeff Bezos one-upped Flipkart by announcing that Amazon would invest $2 billion into building up’s operations, the largest investment to date by an e-commerce company in India. The…
  20. twitter-branded-tweets

    Is Twitter’s “favorite” controversy its first step on the road to ruin?

    On first glance, Twitter and Facebook would seem to have a lot in common. Users follow humans, brands, and media organizations in order to see text, links, photos, and videos posted by these accounts in their feeds. And while most connections on Facebook are friend connections, meaning both parties must agree to the relationship to see each other’s posts, Facebook now allows users to “follow” accounts without friending them, making it more like Twitter than ever. But the core fundamentals behind how Facebook and Twitter serve up…

The Week in Review